Changes to West Virginia wage payment act go into effect today

by Susan Llewellyn Deniker

Amendments to the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act (WPCA) go into effect today, changing the rules on when discharged employees must be given their final paycheck.

Under the old law, discharged employees had to be paid all wages owed within 72 hours of termination. This year, the legislature amended the WPCA to allow discharged employees to be paid no later than the next payday or within four business days, whichever comes first. Business days are defined as any day other than Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays.

The change means that employers may have a little more time to pay discharged employees, depending on how the next pay period falls. Also, the law specifically allows employers to pay discharged employees through their normal payroll process. For instance, if a discharged employee is normally paid through direct deposit, the employer may follow that process for distributing the employee’s final paycheck.

One problem with the new law is that employers will have to calculate whether final wages are due within four business days or by the next payday. It’s possible that an employee could be owed a final paycheck on the day of discharge if he is fired on a regular payday.

The amendments to the WPCA don’t change the time requirements for employees who quit, are suspended as part of a labor dispute, or are laid off. Employees who quit with less than one pay period’s notice must be paid by the next regular payday, either through the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee. Employees who provide at least one pay period’s notice must be paid when they quit. If employees are laid off or suspended as part of a labor dispute, they must be paid by the next regular payday.

This topic was covered in more detail in the June issue of West Virginia Employment Law Letter.

Susan Llewellyn Deniker is a member in the Bridgeport, West Virginia, office of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. She can be reached at 304-933-8154 or at